As the digital realm has made our world smaller, every year, more and more B2B companies are making the transition to doing business on a global scale. And according to a global survey by Episerver, 28 percent of B2B decision-makers believe expanding into new geographic markets is a top opportunity for their company.
However, expanding your company globally isn’t an easy process. At Zen Media, we fully understand this struggle firsthand. We now work with clients all over the world, but getting to this point took a lot of grit, guts, time, and learning.
There’s a lot to consider and a ton of work that needs to be done before, during, after a company decides to take their business worldwide. And when globalization is done wrong, businesses not only fail to scale into other markets, they end up losing a significant amount of time and money in the process.
If you’re considering taking your business to new international markets, we’ve got you covered with some of the essential things you need to know to help ensure it’s a success. We’ll also provide a few ways you can effectively make your move to global markets.
Let’s get started by going through some essential information you need to know about the beginning stages of expanding your B2B company internationally.
5 Things You Should Know About Going Global
1. Ask Yourself Why You Want to Enter Global Markets
You might’ve just rolled your eyes after reading that, but, yes, we are serious!
Companies typically consider expanding internationally because of growing revenue, but it’s important to look beyond this aspect. Think about precisely why you want to transition to other countries and how your product can serve those markets.
Are you seeing organic demand (like website traffic) from countries outside the U.S.?
Does your product solve an existing problem in another country?
Justifying reasons beyond revenue will make your case for global expansion a lot stronger.
2. Nail Down a Plan
Making a transition into new markets is a massive move, and B2B businesses need to be prepared to handle this daunting undertaking with an organized, strategic approach.
Your company started with a business plan, and your global venture calls for the same. Be sure to also avoid making any assumptions about how the expansion will go down or that the processes you used to successfully launch your business domestically will also work globally.
3. Consider Differences in Regulations and Marketing
From product regulations to certain terms that you should steer away from in your marketing messages, do as much analysis as possible into the way business is and should be done in different international markets.
To navigate the regulatory environments and any government-imposed restrictions, have a legal team on board to offer consulting.
Additionally, hiring a skilled marketing team that can help your business strategize for marketing campaigns all over the world can be instrumental.
As well as helping to get your business get recognized in a new region, global marketing experts can advise you on other elements, like strategizing your B2B social media marketing and showing you how to optimize with local SEO.
4. Get to Know the Local Business Landscape
The way organizations and people do business vary across countries. In Sweden, for example, B2B leaders are keen to use automation to simplify things and consider providing their salesforce with digital selling tools is the most significant opportunity for their business in the next few years.
On the other hand, in the U.K., where businesses are concerned about getting outspent by competitors, B2B leaders are hoping to compete on experience, and feel the pressure to elevate their online experience to one that their customers have become accustomed to.
Getting to know how businesses in the country you’re planning to enter work and what their needs are will help you better understand how to effectively engage with them.
5. Understand Your Target Country’s Business Politics
In today’s globalization landscape, international business is something that many countries increasingly want more of.
This means that there may very well be ways that you can work with a given country’s government to gain a foothold in their marketplace. However, it’s important to first understand the extent of which the government in your target country will be involved in how you conduct business.
What kind of interest do they have in your product?
Are there any trade policies or tax incentives that you can take advantage of?
The greater your knowledge, the better off you’ll be in your expansion.
Now that we’ve laid some groundwork for a global expansion, here are some ways your B2B company can effectively make its move to another international market.
3 Ways to Enter Global Markets
1. Conduct Direct Sales
Selling directly to export customers by making sales visits to territories where you’ve identified demand is a simple, cost-effective way to enter global markets. However, your potential sales are limited by the resources and time you can allocate to these visits.
2. Consider Expansion Through Mergers and Acquisitions
By merging with or acquiring another company, a business can often achieve a move to new international markets quickly and easily than with a solo expansion. Some advantages of gaining a global footprint through an M&A deal include:
- Having an already established business infrastructure
- Integrating with an existing team in the new market with valuable experience
- Gaining developed relationships with customers in that market
M&A deals also come with challenges, such as the cultural difference between your home country and the new market and certain legal implications, so it’s important to approach this strategy carefully.
3. Partner with a Local Business
A joint venture with a business partner local to the country you’re seeking to enter can provide the benefits of local market knowledge and contact.
If you decide to pursue this option, make sure to take legal advice before setting up the joint venture. Some regions limit foreign companies to minority participation in the venture, which can lessen your effective control.
Going global is an undeniably daunting task, but with the right amount of planning and foresight, it can be a highly rewarding move for companies seeking to expand. And by focusing your efforts on knowledge and preparedness, you have the opportunity to garner success across the globe.